as the year draw's to a close, i've been reflecting on all the fiberlicious fun i've had in 2011. the sweater that did not want to be spun was completed and worn. it was my very first handspun sweater and i love it. i met my spinning goal during the tour-de-fleece and have beautiful yarn waiting. there were wooly trips to maryland sheep and wool, rhinebeck, and new england fiber fest. and the fiber friends. my life is truly completed by my dear fiber friends. our common love binds us together and enriches my spirit in ways that i can not describe.
i'm sure that the new year will bring me adventures and projects and fibers and thrills. and i'll have my herd to share in the journey!
at the spinning meeting last weekend, there was a spinner with handmade holiday socks. just plain socks, but knit with a holiday yarn. they were so festive and such a great project for a knitter. who doesn't need holiday socks on the holiday?
it bounced around in my brain that i never asked where she got the yarn, but with the internet i was sure i could find some. then the light bulb went off and i realized that this would be an awesome yarn that amythefibergoddess could create. so a few days later when she left a message, i wasn't surprised. i love that i have a cohort who mind-melds with me. the only hitch, was while i was thinking that amy would dye the yarn, she was thinking that we would buy the yarn.
with a little internet searching, the yarn was found and at my door in two days. so next year, holiday socks! ( even i'm not nutty enough to think i'd have them done this year )
my dear fiber friend joan was unable to spin with us at the last guild meeting. she has surgery to repair torn stuff in her knee. so to brighten her day (and have an excuse to spin) cc and i shuffled off to buffalo. we stopped for sustenance and arrived early afternoon enjoying a fabulous day of spinning, chatting, and fibery fun. this is luna is enjoying her special spot under the tree. luna came to joan this fall and has settled into the rhythm of a lovely fiber dog. i was able to get two skeins plied....and even more bottle cardigans done.
as crazy as it seems, i'm still knitting cardigans. power knitting as they are being sold for holiday gifts and you know the holiday is like soon!!! i sent three off this morning and have yet another on the needles to finish. non-fiber people just have no clue.
on a saturday night?? why, decorate gingerbread houses of course!
our annual tradition continues. home made gingerbread baked into house-parts. edible frosting and candy.... the good stuff. it seems that this year the goal was to 'out-tacky' each other.
we were successful!
every few months, the gals in my family set a date to get together for dinner,shopping and most importantly a chance to catch up. really catch up. an opportunity to sit down without interruptions (kids, husbands, you know.... life) and talk about what is going on in our lives, challenges, work and plan events.
so tonight was our night. everyone met at my place. while we were waiting, the mail was delivered and in it was a package. not just any package, but one from my cousin. linda and i keep in touch with our blogs. she reads mine and i keep track of her on hers. i'll admit, she is a much better blogger. she highlights her stamping passion with generous dollops about her life. i tend to be too technical about fiber, yarn, patterns, blah, blah blah.
a bit ago she offered several of her stamp sets to anyone who wanted them. there were several sets that i didn't have that tickled the fancy of the stampers in my home. so, i commented and today this arrived....
a box full of goodies! extra special because they came from someone so special in my life. i'm eager to get into those stamps and get going.
thank you linda, i'm thrilled to have a part of you!
even with a test knit, i still found pattern errors. forgot an entire row. i'd like to blame it on something other than my ineptitude, but i can't. i may have to do one more, entirely by the pattern and then be done. this cardigan is from my handspun, in fact it matches the sweater that i did this spring. i love everything about it, except the buttons. i'll have to do a button search at joann's and find some that look better.
since i'm done with these for the moment, i got spinning again. i had several bobbins that needed to be plied of fiber that i had taken for a spin before all the fall festivals. i love each one and i'm only sorry that i did not buy more. then i remembered that amythefibergoddess had pointed out how much i did actually purchase on the way home from rhinebeck, so i started spinning the bfl from miss bab's
i'm putting some thought into this. a bit thicker on the single, trying to not add tooooo much twist so that it stays light and lofty. i've got one bobbin done, so i'm off to a good start.
putting away all the 'normal' stuff before getting out the holiday trim this week, i ran across these. i started this pair of mittens in march when i was on my mitten kick. i had run into the road block with the sweater, needed more fiber to spin into yarn to finish the sweater, but what to do with the mis-match yarn? well, make mitts of course. they were all done except for the thumbs. i really don't know how i let that happen. that is not like me to leave a project undone so close to the goal. my only thought is that i was waiting to get the wool to make the sweater yarn before i completed these. well, whatever the reason they are completed just in time for the balmy, warm november weather!
of course there was a smidge of yarn left. i can guess what your thinking..... another bottle cardigan. i refrained. i had packed all the needles and pattern away as we got the decorations out, so no way was i going down that road again.
until i read my email. a fiber friend would like the pattern. the one that's in my head. today i put it into the computer, and decided that i should knit it to make sure that it's correct.
i know i won't have enough yarn to finish, but i couldn't stop myself. it seems that the pattern is correct, at least i think it is. so it is going off with the understanding that the knitter has to use her judgement and be patient with my attempt at pattern writing.
it seems that amythefibergoddess is truly my fibergoddess! i got so caught up in life that i neglected to ask her to rescue me from with my bottle cardigan dilema. not only does she read my blog, she answers my requests and brought a full skein of horsemint yarn to the guild meeting today. she rocks!
so after dinner (while enjoying a lovely glass of riesling) i finished the bottom of the cardigan. i used only a smidge (technical fiber talk :) of yarn to bring this to completion.
that's five completed cardigans. i'm stopping. really, no intervention needed here!
i made it all the way to the bottom and ran out of yarn. i have to repeat it, because i keep sitting here thinking that if i wait long enough, i'll have enough to finish. amy..... horsemint, worsted weight, scraps...... please??
i've been gently (well, maybe not so gently) begging asking amythefibergoddess to guide me down the path of fiber dyeing. it just never seems to work out that we can hook up. so when i finished the miami beach shawl for her, she wanted to compensate me and all i wanted was a lesson in her dyeing kitchen. so last night, her herd was away and i was free so we had a date night!
i showed up at her door with two fleeces that i grabbed from the garage. now, here i will interject that i have a great partner, and while i was away at a fibery event all the summer furniture was stored for the winter. in the storage process all my washed, labeled fleeces were moved. so sadly i have no clue what fleece i grabbed, but it was a beauty. white, lustrous, long staple length.
the process was exact and more time consuming than difficult. the hardest part was choosing a color. or did i want several colors. would they blend together? clash? i had absolutely no idea. amy was a saint. i finally just said, 'you know me, pick!' she guided me to ~cape cod red (really, i sort of did that on my own) and mocha chino and golden pear. the idea is to have these carded together into roving.
so off we went, soaking the wool, heating pots, mixing dye solutions. i loved it!
as we were finishing the first batch, amy looks over at the grey fleece that i brought and exclaims 'lets do that too!' really? i'm there. so we went back to the color charts and debated what to over-dye this beautiful grey with. teal? not me. blue? i've done lots of blue recently. green? you can see how this was not going well. we finally came around to plum. it rocked! in fact amy was so happy she is considering it for one of her projects. we wrapped it up and i came home with several pillow-cases of colorful, wet wool.
and here it is! the november weather cooperated with a breeze, sunny day. left to right: plum, mocha chino, golden pear and cape cod cranberry.
next week i'll be sending it off to the mill. i couldn't be happier!
way back in may when sandy long and i traveled to the maryland sheep and wool festival, she asked me if i would be her travel companion should she get into a new festival. she was considering applying for the new england fiber festival in springfield, massachusetts and knew that her 'regulars' might not be available to help. high on fiber fumes and happy to be on the road i enthusiastically agreed. i easily rationalized all the reasons it would be fun to do.... new festival, different venue, cool vendors, past our fest but before the holidays, and hey... why not? two weeks ago sandy get the call that she's in. she had already lined cc up to help, so i tagged along as extra labor. we set off on friday with two cars packed to the brim! it was a good thing we had that second car to carry our clothes, chairs and wine! we looked like clown cars traveling down the highway.
we arrived at the 'big e' late afternoon and got everything in place. the arena is a huge indoor complex that is clean, warm and extremely well run. we fell into bed that evening tired and excited. the next morning we fueled ourselves with starbucks and arrived to greet the festival goers. it was a slow but steady flow of attendees shopping. and shop they could with over 175 fiber folks selling yarn, fiber, and accessories.
sandy treated us to a great dinner out that evening
how can you go wrong with a micro-brewery drink and artichoke dip?
we finished the weekend with a short day on sunday, packing up and heading home by five. sandy registered for next year, so hopefully she'll need the tag-a-long labor again!
what did i buy? well, a huge hank of yarn and a wool jacket. pretty good on my new fiber diet!
amythefibergoddess gifted me with this awesome knitted gift. it meets two of my favorite things... knitting and wine! she found it in a local gift shop, and surprisingly is was actually hand knit. of course immediately i decided i needed to make one. we scoured ravelry to find a pattern and i ordered it. after i started knitting, i realized that it was so not going to work.
what to be done but cast on and try to replicate the pattern. i'm using size 10.5 dbp and nashua chunky yarn in a vine-y color. it is going great! i can't believe that i actually had the sense to bag the first one and apply myself to making a really nice one. hmmmmm, knitters maturity perhaps? so i put the entire project into my new knitting bowl, a gift to me and my bd this year.
i'm still reliving the glorious adventure that is my annual rhinebeck trip. i look forward to this, well from the time that i depart it. you can never count on the weather in october, rain, snow, sun, we've done it all. you can count on a fairgrounds full of vendors and fiber folk, with lots of fun to be had.
this year, sandy joined us in our travels. we leave friday morning for my sister's home in westchester county arriving late afternoon. we were greeted with hugs and dog snuffles (the best), and i got to finally meet her newest doggie, g-lee (such a sweet girl). we were treated like queens with drinks and snacks, then my bro-in-law arrived with bags of chinese food. wine was flowing, conversations going and knitting commenced. we chatted away the evening in fine comfort. we bid them farewell the next morning, and after a starbucks hit, were on the road by 7:45. we made great travel time and i've got the directions down to perfection. we parked near the gate and onto the grounds at 9:10.
sandy had some pottery to pick up, so after quickly completing that task, she went off to help cc with her wheel purchase. here she is with her new ashford joy.
joan and i shopped and fiber fondled until we met up with amythefibergoddess. she was quited delayed on the bus, so didn't get a full day in!
we still managed to pack a car with stuff. the weather was nice enough to let me wear my rhinebeck sweater through the day. i was petted and complimented by a few enthusiasts which is always a hoot.
this is our one brush with woolly greatness..... i kineared stephanie pearl-mcphee. amy, cc and i were sniffing soap in one of our favorite booths, when who should be soap sniffing as well but the yarn harlot ... in the flesh. i quickly snapped a shot of amy with the harlot just behind her!
exhausted, we were in the car at 5:00 and home by 11:00. it would seem that i won the most fiber purchased.... (thanks amy for adding that up ;) but cc spent the most money.
i'm a week away from traveling to new york sheep and wool festival. i just love this event. love it.
started scouring ravelry and their website to get my 'must see' list up to date. it dawned on me that i had purchased fibers at maryland this year and purposely set it aside to spin so i could get more if i needed it in october. strange, but it is october and the wool has yet to find it's way onto my wheel. moving that up on my to do list. so i need to get this....
so that sweater that i started knitting from my handspun..... many, many months ago? it is finally finished. i had started the project, had an issue with the colors (caused by my careless spinning), had sandy make me more fiber, spun that up, knit the sleeves and there is sat. i put it together with the intention to wear it to the fiber fest, but that didn't work out. i finally blocked it and today i put the buttons on. i love it! i was anxious that there was still too much color variation, but i was assured by my harshest critics (that would be my family) that it is a winner!
i may just need to pack this baby to wear at rhinebeck.
so that left me without a huge project hanging over my head which meant i immediately cast one on. i decided that i was going to actually enter the second part of the handspinners basket category at the ffest. so the linden wrap is on the needles.
i'm excited to see how this works up. the pattern is interesting enough to keep my interest and it has elements of entralac, so we'll see how this goes.
i had such a blast yesterday! the very best part was catching up with old friends! i chatted with several fiber folks that i haven't seen in years, and it was just like we had spoken the day before. fiber folks.... the best.
i made time to visit the skein & garment display where my prize winning items were. woohoo!
my entry for handspinners basket won first prize and i received the award for best handspinners basket.
this was the first fiber i had ever purchased from sandy long. shades of greens, beautifully prepared, i could hardly wait to get it home to spin it. in 2008. took me until this spring to get it onto my wheel. i saw a wrap that i loved and then re-discovered this fiber. my goal is to get it onto the needles soon (not in three more years)
i had also gone rummaging in the closet for one of those many hats i made last winter. i found one, steamed it and entered it. so when those winter winds blow, someone will be wearing a prize winning garment to shovel the drive!
as always the weekend passed much to quickly and i didn't get to see nearly enough. i'm already excited for next year.
i finished the bazillion stitched 'miami wrap' for amythefibergoddess. it is amazingly beautiful! i know i sounded like a real grump as i slogged along on it, but it really wasn't that challenging and the final product is lovely.
today was the first day of the annual fingerlakes fiber festival. i went out to the grounds yesterday to set our guild display up. we had over forty folks participate in the exchange and almost all lent their garment to the display. the festival goers get their chance to vote on their favorite pair. it's always fun to see what ones tickle the fancy of our attendees.
with the departure of our current chairpersons, i decided to get myself more involved in the actual 'hands-on' work. i really felt that i should know what these dedicated gals do each and every year to make this festival so awesome. armed with a walkie-talkie and a vente dark-roast i started off the day with our leader. i answered questions, scolded drivers, filled in for no-show volunteers, and generally tried to be as useful as i could be. my nose is sun burnt and my body is tired, so i hope i met my goal.
there were lots of folks having a fibery good time! tomorrow the fun continues.....
if ever you see that phrase in your knitting adventures, don't be fooled! it does not mean that the rows are short, it means that row you are working on is getting longer and will end in a shorter row that what you started with when you cast on a bazillion stitches!
it is all garter stitch and great for knitting, but i've got to tell you it is a long row....
this picture does show the subtle variation in the wool.... it is lovely. i'm super happy with the yarn, amy has another winner on her hands!
yesterday as i prepared to say good-bye to summer, i realized that i needed to get that fleece (purchased in may at msw) washed. i had wanted to wash and dye the locks, then hand card it. unfortunately i ran out of time in my life. it washed up beautifully and i had only a handful that was full of vegie material. i'm going to card that separately to see if i can get it out.
the very best part of having a hot tub is that it is a perfect place to dry wool. nice and warm on the underside, up off the ground and far away from sniffing doggies! i was really surprised at the color variety i have going on here. there is silver, brown, very dark brown and grey. it is bagged and to the garage for storage.
i found some cool knitting notions while out and about. i needed to use that 50% coupon at joanns and came home with these....
triangle stitch markers in xs-s-m. i had several coupons and traveled with shoppers. they are made by clover and are the same hard plastic as others, but i love the shape. i may need to cast on another large project, with lots of lace panels to try them out with :)
today found me doing my annual 'spin at the fair' day. the new york state fair is fortunate to have a wool room, which is a small free-standing building across from the sheep barns, that houses all the things done with fiber. spinners spin, knitters knit, weavers weave.... well you get the just. volunteers come in daily for 4 hour shifts to demonstrate the art. today was my day! it's now becoming a tradition that the family tags along and has fun fair-going while i'm engaged, then we meet up and play for the rest of the day.
i was seated with three gals that i recognised from last year, and away we went. near the end of my shift, a dear man stood and watched the process tirelessly. he was so interested in the mechanics of the process, and picked up fine details that i struggled to explain. talk about being challenged! my fellow spinners jumped into the discussion and soon we were turning wheels around, taking bobbins off, and having a fine time with explaining all the gadgetry!
i was soon off to get my 25 cent milk (i can put away milk!) and then the $1 baked potato. i know it sounds like i'm beyond frugal, but they are my favorite fair items and worth every penny. i looked at baskets (passed them by, i'll wait until rhinebeck) and found another summer dress. (if i tell that i got it for $15, i'll really look like a cheap-skate :)
we made it to the sand sculpture. words are inadequate to express the simplicity and beauty of the tribute to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
i'm happy to say that my sample knitting for nistock farms yarn is complete! the mittens were steamed, blocked, labeled and sent to robin. my goal was to have them done before i started back to my 'real job' and i made it with a few hours to spare. the mittens were so much fun, well the entire project was just too much fun, but with the cool nights, i'm thinking that i need to work on more of those hand-coverings. i still don't own a set of mitts. remember the hat issue from last year? well, mitt for me will soon be in order.
my other sample knitting is for amythefibergoddess. she loves me, i know she does. why else would she chose a pattern with a bazillion stitches and a jazillion rows to have ready for the festival in two weeks, if she didn't think i needed it? actually, after i got through the first round of lace, i'm starting to have fun. i even took it with me to work to settle my nerves :)
it is the miami beach shawl pattern in her kettle dyed worsted weight yarn. i'm knitting it a size us9 needles, so it is really cooking along. i have a suspicion that it is going to be huge when i block it, but she will surely find a wonderful way to drape it in her booth. the family thought i looked reptilian as i had it out for a photo shoot. again, can you tell they love me?
several years ago, when i was but a new, green knitter, i fell into the felted clog hole. i crafted these by the dozens (not an exaggeration) and many, many in my family have wooly love on their feet. one of the first that i did was for my niece. a sweet little gal with a summer birthday, i made them with grow room in her favorite colors. she wore them and wore them until she grew right out. her family would often joke that her slippers were the family favorite. by family favorite, i mean critter favorite. it seems that the family labradopes would search out these slippers for biters.if you have never loved a labrador, they are retrievers. nothing is better than carrying around a 'dead duck' in your mouth. since these are family pets, 'dead duck' aka: a biter, is usually a mitten, slipper or same sized object that they carry about.
i stopped to visit today and upon getting out of the car came across this....
the first beloved slipper. it seems that when i was told it was the family favorite, they really meant it. the dogs lug it around, the cat carries it about and here it is decorating the driveway.
it's a good thing she already got her replacement slippers or i would have thought twice! :)
yesterday was delivery day for my samples. with the fiber festival just 4 short weeks away, i wanted robin to have time to play with these and decide how best to display them. to say she was thrilled would be a gross understatement! it was the perfect response for any knitter who has spent time belaboring the pattern choice, needle choice, yarn choice. i was completely unaware that robin is not a crazed knitter. (that would be me :)
i know she knits, i've seen the mittens that she's made. until yesterday i thought she did it easily. well, that is not the case. yes, she knits but she is not completely comfortable with the process. so she opened a bag of magic when she received the samples. here they are in all their glory...
and the final item made from nistock farms sport weight... lace mittens. one done, one to go!
a married mom of two. i live in a big, old house that has been a huge adventure to restore. we live in a small village in the fingerlakes region of new york. i started knitting in 2003 and my spinning adventure began in 2007. i work part-time during the school year and provide home based education to my kids. we have two pups who show a deep love for my wooliness.